EXHIBITION ONLINE THRU AUGUST 31, 2021
CURATED BY ELIZABETH FERRER
Latinx Abstract is a groundbreaking exhibition, focusing on the work of ten contemporary artists who work with varied media and approaches, and are united by their dedication to abstract languages. The exhibition includes work by figures who are relatively young and whose careers span little more than a decade, to those who have been active for a half century or more. This cross-generational representation is central to the exhibition, demonstrating that abstraction is an enduring, if overlooked, tendency among Latinx artists. These artists produce work that falls outside expected notions of “Latinx art” — if such a category even exists. Their bodies of work are neither figurative nor culturally specific nor political in the traditional or overt sense. Nevertheless, their allegiance to this mode can be viewed as a form of political expression when art that embodies race and ethnicity, or that displays emblems of culture, are seen by many as the legible, acceptable norm. Exhibition artists include Candida Alvarez, Karlos Cárcamo, Maria Chávez, Alejandro Guzmán, Glendalys Medina, Freddy Rodríguez, Fanny Sanín, Mary Valverde, Vargas-Suarez Universal, and Sarah Zapata.
Mary Valverde | Huaca, 2021 | Mixed media | Wall: 109 x 126 in. Floor: 99 x 91 x 11 in.
The history of abstract art in the United States is predicated on a long established narrative, one that champions certain voices, movements and regions, and that promulgates this narrative through major museum exhibitions and permanent collections, academic courses, and in the writings of scholars and critics. Efforts by many art historians and curators over the last two decades have worked to rewrite this view of art history, bringing to the forefront much that had been excluded, especially the oeuvres of such African American artists as Norman Lewis, Alma Thomas, and Howardena Pindell. An even more comprehensive history, one that would consider numerous, diverse artists whose oeuvres should be contextualized on their own terms as well as within the history of American art, would include many Latinx artists, who remain largely absent from the critical discourse on abstraction.
Candida Alvarez | Vision Painting No. 15, 2020 | Acrylic on linen | 20 x 20 in.
Significantly, the artwork in this exhibition reveals an unusually broad range of sources and influences, not only the oeuvres of canonical abstract artists from the last century, but also, more individual and idiosyncratic sources — Indigenous cultures in the Americas; mathematics, astronomy, and computer science; and aspects of popular culture like graffiti and hip hop. These bodies of work express, on the one hand, a desire to push against limitations and stereotypical expectations imposed upon Latinx artists and on the other, the need to reassess the scope and history of abstract art itself.
Karlos Cárcamo | Kase Painting (P5), 2020 (left) | Latex spray paint, graffiti remover, collage on canvas, reclaimed plywood frame| 68 x 51 in. | Kase Painting (P7), 2020 (right) | Latex spray paint, graffiti remover, collage on canvas, reclaimed plywood frame | 62 x 50 in.
We are currently accepting reservations for virtual tours of Latinx Abstract for college-age or adult groups. Virtual tours are offered Tuesdays and Wednesdays 10am-2pm, and Saturdays 11am-4pm.
Tours will begin April 1st. We require at least one week's notice for reservations.
To inquire with the Contemporary Art team regarding a group tour for college-age or adult groups, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah Zapata, Living in our own time (3 gargoyles), 2020 | Natural and synthetic fiber, handwoven cloth | Approx. 9 x 6 ft.
Glendalys Medina | The Sun (El Sol), 2020 | Nails, oil pastel, paint, marker and thread on wood | 42 x 54 in.
Alejandro Guzman | The fatalist, 2013-2021 | Wood, screws, chicken wire, casters, plastic, melted plastic, silicone, resin, foam, plaster, coroplast, mirrors, crystals, glitter, glass, aluminum, copper, brass, bamboo, botanica beads, nok beads, Nkisi wood sculpture, clothing, fabric trim, the artist’s aunts costume jewelry collection, oil paint, ink on paper, oil on canvas, rabbit fur, coyote pelt, deer antlers, bull horns, and the artist’s grandmother’s Bata (dress)
Freddy Rodríguez | Life and Death, 2016 (triptych) | Acrylic on canvas | 50 x 126 in. overall
Freddy Rodríguez | Ella sola, 1974 (left) | Acrylic on canvas | 64 x 36 in. | Mulato de tal, 1974 (right) | Acrylic on canvas | 80 x 40 in.
Maria Chávez | Staggered Shifts, 2021 | Sound installation
Fanny Sanín | Acrylic No. 1, 2018 | Acrylic on canvas | 60 x 62 in.
Vargas-Suarez Universal | Celestial Vectors II, 2018-20 | Laser cut, hand-felted, hand dyed, hand sewn Tien Shan Mountain sheep’s wool with Shyrdak and saima techniques | 24 x 24 in.
Lead support for Latinx Abstract is provided by:
BRIC’s contemporary art program benefits from additional funding from B&H Photo Video, Coby Foundation, Harold and Colene Brown Family Foundation, Harpo Foundation, Humanities New York, Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and numerous individual supporters.
General support for BRIC is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Booth Ferris Foundation, Brooklyn Community Foundation, Con Edison, Howard Gilman Foundation, Industry City, JP Morgan Chase, Lambent Foundation, M&T Charitable Foundation, New York Community Trust, Scherman Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), Surdna Foundation, Tiger Baron Foundation, and numerous individuals.
Public support for BRIC is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.